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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A plea for mutual understanding in the Munoz case

On Sunday, as you probably heard, Marlise Munoz was removed from life support under court order. This eliminated any chance that unborn baby Nicole, a few weeks short of viability, might survive to birth.

Secular Pro-Life issued a brief statement mourning the loss and stating our disagreement with the court's decision. A long comment thread ensued. Pro-choice facebook followers expressed the view that Secular Pro-Life's position is anti-woman (e.g. wanting Marlise to be an "incubator"); that the logic behind keeping Marlise on life support would also justify grave robbing; that the right to die supercedes the right to life; and that the fact that Marlise did not address the possibility of pregnancy in discussing her end-of-life wishes is irrelevant because, as one commenter put it, "she was still a person, whether she was pregnant or not."

I present the following analogy in the hope that it will clarify the core issues, put to rest the accusations of misogyny, and help us to better understand one another. (I do not yet know how our pro-choice friends will respond to this analogy, but I am curious to find out.)

Our hypothetical family consists of Wife and Husband, a couple in their thirties, and Daughter, who is in kindergarten. It is a loving family. Wife and Husband are very close, and have discussed their feelings about life support on several occasions. Husband stated that the idea of life support made him very uncomfortable; he felt that being hooked up to machines would be undignified and even dehumanizing. Wife promised to abide by Husband's wishes.

Tragedy strikes the family when Daughter is diagnosed with leukemia. Wife and Husband love Daughter and are understandably sick with worry. Daughter needs a bone marrow transplant.

Wife is not a match, but luckily, Husband is. Daughter currently has an infection, and in her weakened state, it could take weeks for her body to fight it off. Until then, she is not in good enough shape to undergo the transplant. But as soon as the infection is resolved, Husband is prepared to donate his marrow to save Daughter.

The day after Husband learns that he is a bone marrow match, he suffers a pulmonary embolism (the same condition that struck Marline Munoz). He is placed on mechanical support while his doctors try to figure out their next steps.

Sadly, it soon becomes clear that Husband will never regain consciousness and is beyond all hope. His skin begins showing signs of decay. But most of his organ systems remain functional, and he is still producing good bone marrow.

The hospital checks donor banks with no luck; Husband is the only possible match.

Wife states that she wants Husband removed from life support, in accordance with his wishes.

The hospital wants to keep Husband on life support until Daughter is well, perform the bone marrow transplant, and then disconnect Husband's life support. The hospital and its lawyers point out that when Husband discussed his end-of-life wishes, he never addressed the remote possibility that life support would be needed to save Daughter. Husband obviously loved Daughter and was prepared to donate his bone marrow to her before he suffered the pulmonary embolism. Moreover, hard as it is to say it, Husband is effectively dead, whereas Daughter still has a fighting chance; therefore, Daughter's interests should prevail.

Wife, hoping to avoid a media circus, doesn't directly address these points. However, her supporters come out of the woodwork and make several arguments in favor of disconnecting life support. They say that keeping Husband on life support is tantamount to making him an "incubator" and is contrary to his human dignity. They allude to the sexist history of men being forced into the role of the "family provider," accusing the hospital of anti-male sentiment for now forcing Husband to be a provider of bone marrow to Daughter.

They also point out that Daughter's condition has been deteriorating; the infection has reached her lungs, and every breath is painful. Even if she were to get the bone marrow transplant and survive, she would probably need to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of her life, her cancer could recur, she would be raised by a single mother, and her overall quality of life would be seriously compromised.

Which side would you take in the above scenario?

Wherever you come down on this hypothetical, I think (hope) we can all agree on the following points:
1) This is a tragedy. So is the Munoz case.
2) Wife is not a monster out to kill an innocent child; she is a greiving widow trying to navigate heartwrenching territory. The same goes for Erick Munoz.
3) The hospital and its supporters are not motivated by sexism or trying to be cruel. Neither are pro-lifers in the Munoz case.

162 comments:

Jameson Graber said...

Very thoughtful piece. I appreciate it.

Catie said...

Well thought out. Thank You.
It is unfortunate some see the disabled as such a burden that they would rather they be dead.

ignorance_is_curable said...

The analogy fails because in this blog-article scenario the daughter qualifies as a person, while in the Munoz case the unborn human does not qualify as a person --it is only an animal organism, and its human-ness is irrelevant (except to the Stupidly Prejudiced).


Remember that if it is possible for a non-human person to exist, somewhere in our huge huge Universe, then "human-ness" cannot Generically qualify as a distinguishing characteristic of persons! No matter what our human-created, short-sighted, parochial and prejudiced dictionary definitions say. It is not impossible that we may need look no further than Earth's dolphin population to find non-human persons (the evidence is still being gathered and debated).


In general, the most common mistake made while presenting anti-abortion arguments is to assume that unborn humans qualify as persons. But no argument exists that can successfully prove the assumption, when the Big Picture (a Universe containing non-human persons) is considered.


Finally, a major point of Biology. There exist two major extremes of reproductive biology, called "K-strategy" and "R-strategy". Humans are K-strategists and have relatively few offspring, and also tend to give them great care in order to help their chances of survival. This built-in tendency to care for offspring is the likely cause of a large proportion of anti-abortion sentiments.


R-strategists typically have thousands of offspring, and tend to offer them no care whatsoever, so most of them die. If any species in the Universe happens to be an intelligent R-strategist, the adults will know that their offspring are mere animals, and that most of them must die, else an overpopulation disaster would be inevitable.


If you don't believe that, then just imagine a sudden fictional change in which every pregnant human woman starts having 100 surviving kids at a time --worldwide, there are currently roughly 130 million pregnancies carried to term each year-- and the overall adult human population would find itself desperately trying to keep feeding 13 billion babies born each year! It cannot be done, period.


For EVERY non-prejudiced attempt made by abortion opponents to prove that unborn humans qualify as persons, that argument also would apply to the offspring of intelligent R-strategists. Even though it will remain true that most of those offspring must die.


And that is the fundamental reason why it will be impossible for any such effort to succeed. Generically, biological persons really are so different from their offspring that all offspring always qualify only as mere animals. They can only become persons by growing, and surviving long enough. Neither of which is ever Required By Nature to happen!.

LevelUpPlease said...

I am a little confused about the circumstances surrounding the hypothetical. Early in the post, you state the doctors want to wait until the daughter is well enough to receieve the marrow. However, later in the hypothetical, you state that the daughter's condition is deteriorating. This indicates that she will not get better.

How can she get well enough to eventually receive the marrow while simultaniously deteriorating because she doesn't have the marrow?

Can you please clarify this? I just want to make sure I have your assumptions correct before I get too deep into a response.

Kelsey said...

The doctors are working to treat the infection, but Daughter may or may not recover. Her potential for survival is unclear, like Nicole Munoz.

argent said...

Gosh, your "arguments" get more and more inhumane at every turn.

Britprolife said...

Nothing about this argument works. Being human does not make you a person, the fact being human makes you a creature with the inherent capacity to display all the attributes of a person, makes you a person. You're falling into the old Singer trap of assuming that only immediate capacity matters, in which case you have logically support infanticide as well. If there are non-human persons in the universe than it will be equally wrong to abort their offspring too. As for the breeding argument, most prolifers do accept that when there is a situation when you can't make a choice that won't cause some people to die, you take the path of least suffering, so that argument doesn't damge the prolife case either.

LevelUpPlease said...

Here's the main problem with your hypothetical: the father does not have to be kept on a ventilatior until his daughter gets better to donate his marrow. Unlike with organs, marrow can be frozen after it is harvested for later use.

But, assuming your hypothetical was medically accurate, the legal right should be left with the family. They know his wishes, and presumably know what he would have wanted to do even if they never addressed this particular circumstance.

While the doctor's actions may be well-intentioned, it is beyond their right to decide what to do with the husband.

I disagree, however, the PLers (in general) are not intending to be cruel. They have called supporter's of the family's and their rights every name in the book. They have demonized the husband, the family, and their supporters. Even over at SPL, Mrs. Munoz's body has been likened to a bank account or a piece of property; a thing to be divided upon her demise. It's just hard to think that type of cuelty is not intentional.

ignorance_is_curable said...

I'm aware of the flaws in both the "capacity" argument and the "functionality" argument.


Despite what you may think, "capacity" is about something that exists right now. If a bowl has a certain capacity, it can right-now hold stuff equal to its capacity. Unborn humans don't actually right-now have the capacity to exhibit the characteristics of persons. All they actually have is potential to exhibit characteristics of persons, and in order for that potential to become fulfilled, their capacities must increase. You cannot put quarters into a "roll" that only has the capacity to hold pennies!


The functionality argument fails because it doesn't distinguish between having an ability and exhibiting an ability. If the argument was valid, then a professional boxer, who was merely just sitting in an airplane seat, traveling to the next city for a boxing match, would not qualify as a boxer. It is not necessary to always be exhibiting an ability, just to prove one possesses it!


So, a person who is asleep or in a coma is still a person because the abilities associated with personhood are still possessed by that person. But a brain-dead human on full life-support, and an unborn human, are not persons, because the abilities associated with personhood don't exist in those situations. And so the life-support "plug" can be pulled, and abortions can be done, because only living animal bodies are killed by those events, not persons.

ignorance_is_curable said...

Your nonsense regarding the breeding argument remains nonsense, until after you can prove that mere animals can qualify as persons.

ignorance_is_curable said...

Is a Malthusian Catastrophe "humane"? Is that what you want? If so, just keep on insisting that more and more mouths-to-feed must be born! Because, eventually, inevitably, you will succeed in helping to kill of most of the human species.


The world is finite in its resources, and It Is Mathematically Impossible For Endless Growth To Be Compatible With Finite Resources. Humanity is not immune to a Malthusian Catastrophe. Just see the history of Easter Island for proof. And Island Earth is nothing more than a bigger island. Just as finite in long run.

William Cable said...

Presumably then you are ok with legalised infanticide as they have barely anymore capacity than a foetus? In what respect does a person in coma 'possess' the abilities to be a person anymore than a foetus when by your own definition capacity is something that exists right now? If a person in a coma is a person so is a foetus, if a foetus is not a person than neither is a human in a coma. It's one way or the other, choose.

William Cable said...

I genuinely don't understand that comment

Kelsey said...

We are not anywhere near a Malthusian catastrophe at the moment. But if we were to approach one, the appropriate response would be to address it by non-violent means, e.g. contraception.
If population control is your motive for supporting abortion, why only eliminate the preborn? Why not infants, or people with intellectual disabilities, or others who society might deem to be "taking up space"?

mel mariner said...

I would assume that marrow is like anything else and is not as good frozen. If the person is not suffering then it is really ridiculous to speak as if they are being harmed. Someone considered dead by everyone else is not being harmed.

mel mariner said...

To the stupidly prejudice the baby is human. I know this is a secular site but how much more obvious can it get that there is a time when people call evil good and good evil. There seems to be no limit to the evil of "humans" that will declare another human to not really be a human. Some days it is just too much to be standing on this earth with people like you. My heart cannot bear it.

mel mariner said...

What it comes down to is anti-life people want to control everyone. What they eat, when they reproduce. Everything. What gives you the right?

LN said...

Everyone needs to stop feeding this troll.

argent said...

How in the world can you argue that I "possesses the ability" to exhibit the characteristics of personhood when I'm asleep? I most certainly do not have that ability; if you asked me to prove my personhood I would both be unaware of the request and physically incapable of fulfilling it.


There comes a certain point when your distinctions between one human being who is currently not exhibiting characteristics of personhood and another stop being arguments and start being really transparent bigotry.

KB said...

Why don't I just give you this Ignorace_is_curable:

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/

ad hominem, appeal to nature, slippery slope, personal incredulity,black or white - just right now.

Study up now! There will be a quiz.

LevelUpPlease said...

Freezing marrow is the common practice, as it can take weeks for the needing patient to be ready for the marrow after undergoing chemo or radiation. This hypothetical is medically unrealistic. My experience is first hand as I donated my marrow to my father during his battle with cancer, which he eventually lost.

The harm caused by harvesting matters because of the trauma it causes to actual body. Specifically, a weakened body that is not functioning properly because the brain is dead may not be able to endure one of the two procedures used to harvest marrow.

The only ridiculous things are your assumptions.

toephhemin said...

While I find KB's comment a bit silly, your argument actually does contain two formal logical fallacies:

1) You say: "if it is possible for a non-human person to exist, somewhere in our huge huge Universe, then 'human-ness' cannot Generically qualify as a distinguishing characteristic of persons."

But that's exactly backwards. I don't suggest that all persons are humans, (i.e. that human is the generic and person the sepcific term) but that all humans are persons (i.e. that human is the specific and person the generic term). Even the actual existence of other non-human persons would not militate against the claim that all humans are persons, and much less the hypothetical existence of non-human persons. If you prefer this terminology, I claim that "human-ness" is sufficient but not necessary for personhood.

Of course, if you mean "generically" in a sense other than a logical genus (i.e. a biological genus) then you're just misrepresenting the personhood claim. I do not claim that "person" is the biological (or even a metaphysical, if you're an Aristotelean) genus of human beings

2) You say: "For EVERY non-prejudiced attempt made by abortion opponents to prove that unborn humans qualify as persons, that argument also would have to apply to the offspring of intelligent R-strategists."

Here, you're begging the question by presuming that I would grant that (a) intelligence suffices for personhood, and (b) that there could exist a R-strategist species in which (i) the offspring die according to the R-strategy after they are persons and (ii) I would not find anything morally wrong with this species.

I grant you neither (a) nor (b.ii).

Kelsey said...

I apologize for not taking the possibility of freezing into account. If it helps, try changing the analogy so that Daughter needs a portion of Husband's liver, or one of Husband's kidneys, rather than bone marrow.

Marguerite said...

Basically, the hypothetical situation is set up so the only difference is the sexes of the spouses are changed and the child in question is out of the womb. It's astounding to me that people are intentionally misreading this and splitting hairs so as to argue against an article that exposes their hostile bigotry against the unborn.
If the baby had been born but the cord hadn't been cut, would it be a person with the right to life? What about if it had been a preemie via emergency c-section, with not fully formed lungs?
Is it the open air or body formation, lack of parental dependency? What exactly gives someone personhood in your eyes?

Jessie B said...

I notice those other same topic articles had commenters who said that the father shouldn't name his daughter because she was not a person, therefore it's not a baby or child, yet. Basically, they said she has to be born to be called "child" or "baby".


So, I have a question for pro-choicers. Do you agree with what they said? Should you not name your child because he/she is not a person, yet?


I'm just curious.

toephhemin said...

"(i.e. a biological genus)" should, of course, read "(e.g. a biological genus)", otherwise that makes no sense, sorry.

Chris R said...

I'll reiterate the question, why would it not be okay to kill an infant for the purpose of population control?

Chris R said...

Are you saying a newborn is not a person? Does a newborn not have a right to live?

ignorance_is_curable said...

Your mere claim that a logical fallacy has been committed is in no way proof, or even evidence, that a logical fallacy has been committed.

Jessie B said...

With your logic, those 'wanted' pre-born 'parasitic' offsprings cannot be called, "child", "baby" or "person" if they're not born, yet.

All parents should stop calling them "child", "baby", or "person" if they're not born, yet. 'Wanted' or not.

Also, there would be no reason to congrat on new human lives if pregnancy is really tragic.

KM Misener said...

You're the one who brought up your opinion that infants do not possess the qualities that define a person. I look forward to hearing your answers to Chris's questions: Is it wrong to kill a newborn infant? If it is, why?

William Cable said...

The point I am making is that logically by your logic the law is wrong to grant them personhood and should withdraw it.

William Cable said...

Again why does an adult in a deep coma 'possess' the characteristics of personhood anymore than a foetus? They both have it in their inherent nature to eventually possess these capabilities, but require a physical development in order to realise them. What's the difference? If anything in that situation foeti are more human than people in comas because foetuses are intended by nature to go through that process whereas with a comatose person something must have gone wrong in the first place.

ignorance_is_curable said...

Infants are protected by the Law. Unborn humans are not. Sure, both qualify as merely animal human organisms. But only the unborn are not protected by the Law. Suppose I changed your Question: Why should you want to even consider killing a human after it was born, when it is legal to kill it before it is born?


I respect the Law, because in this case I know that it was written before all the relevant Facts were discovered. In light of those Facts, it could be stated that the Law is stupid (which we all know is often true, with respect to plenty other things than personhood). However, in this case the Law has broad acceptance, and there is little effort being made to make it coincide more-closely with the Facts. That's OK by me, simply because I understand how complex the Law would have to become, if an attempt was made to match the Science. Different humans develop at different rates; it is just plain impossible to write a "one size fits all" Law that matches the Science.


Meanwhile, I do not respect abortion opponents, because they want to change the Law to coincide with their Denial Of Science Facts About Objective Generic and Universal Personhood. They want to make the law more stupid than it already is! --and as far as I'm concerned, only idiots, or the truly ignorant, would want to do such a thing. Since ignorance is not a sin, I try to cure it. Which then, in theory, would leave only idiots (such as the Stupidly Prejudiced, but they aren't the only possible category of idiot) as opponents of abortion.

ignorance_is_curable said...

[Britprolife] wrote: " As for the breeding argument, most prolifers do accept that when there is a situation when you can't make a choice that won't cause some people to die, you take the path of least suffering, so that argument doesn't damge the prolife case either."
----
That cannot apply to unborn humans, so long as unborn humans only qualify as mere animals, not persons. So, I wrote in response: "Your nonsense regarding the breeding argument remains nonsense, until after you can prove that mere animals can qualify as persons."

---

Does my response make sense now?

ignorance_is_curable said...

In terms of the Science, regarding Objective Generic and Universal ways to distinguish persons from ordinary animals, newborn humans most certainly fail to qualify as persons. However, the Law is something else, and it arbitrarily grants legal person status to newborns, along with various rights. I do not oppose the Law in this regard. I usually do try to distinguish between the Law's specification and Science's specification, regarding personhood.


But somehow abortion opponents think that only the Law matters, and, since it is arbitrarily assigning legal personhood to mere human animals, it might as well be changed to arbitrarily assign legal personhood to unborn humans all the way back to the zygote stage.


If abortion opponents were correct about "only the Law matters", I might agree with them. But since they are not correct, because Science matters, also, and it is well-known how Science can influence the Law, for that reason I must oppose the efforts of abortion opponents to take the Law, currently inconsistent with the Science, and make it more inconsistent with the Science.

LevelUpPlease said...

No, do not agree with those folks. Wanted, unwanted, person or no...the family can call the unborn whatever they want.

ignorance_is_curable said...

The adult in deep coma can wake up --enough actually do that, so we can reasonably assume all of them can eventually do that. Note that they went into the coma possessing the characteristics of persons. When they wake, they immediately start exhibiting those characteristics once again.

Meanwhile, an unborn human never possesses the characteristics of persons. Those characteristics are not acquired by any humans until well after birth. Since the time of birth can vary rather widely (thanks to incubators for the prematurely born), I prefer to count from conception for this next data: Most humans typically develop the traits of personhood between 15 and 45 months after conception. There are a number of such traits, and some build upon others. For one of the last traits developed, read this (prepend the http:):

www.csub.edu/~mault/symbols.htm

ignorance_is_curable said...

Oh, I agree it is logical. I even know that the ancient Romans routinely practiced infanticide for those born with physical defects, and this didn't stop them from conquering every place they could reach.


Nevertheless, I also know that we have 220 years of Precedent in this country, granting legal person status to newborns. We are simply "used to it".


So, my turn. What does interjecting a change-in-topic, infanticide, have to do with the Overall Abortion Debate? No newborns are threatened by abortions, ever!

ignorance_is_curable said...

You're the one who brought up your opinion
-----
NOT an opinion! Imagine yourself in the "Star Trek" universe (during peaceful times) for a minute. Can you interact with a newborn human in the same way that you would interact with an adult Klingon? What characteristics does the Klingon have, such that you regard that nonhuman as a person? Can you point to any of those characteristics existing in a newborn human?
=======
that infants do not possess the qualities that define a person.
----
Still not an opinion!
=========
I look forward to hearing your answers to Chris's questions: Is it wrong to kill a newborn infant? If it is, why?

--------------
The Law declares it to be wrong, and in this case, Americans have grown up with that Law for more than two centuries. We are comfortable with it. Very few seek to change it to become more consistent with the Objective Generic Universal Science Facts about personhood.


But plenty of ignorant or stupid people want to change the Law to make it even less consistent with the Science. Tsk, tsk!

ignorance_is_curable said...

You are trying to say that "the ability to use an ability" is more important than the original ability itself. Why?


Let us imagine a scenario in which a professional lady wrestler happens to enjoy, during sex play, a little bondage (she likes being tied up). Obviously during those occasions she would be unable to function as a wrestler. Are you then going to arbitrarily declare, just because she can't use certain skills at those times, she doesn't possess them at those times?


Or how about this example. Suppose you had a pocket watch, a modern type that was battery powered, so we know it can run for years without any mechanical rewinding needed. Now suppose some Judge finds a reason to pass a particular oddball punishment: You are to be fined $100,000 every time you take your watch out of your pocket, for the next week.


So, you possess the watch, and you have the ability to take it out of your pocket to look at the time. You might, however, choose to not use that ability. The Judge has made it a too-expensive thing to do!


The person in a coma is mentally unable to exercise a possessed ability. The tied-up wrestler is physically unable to exercise a possessed ability. And you are financially unable to exercise a possessed ability.


In all three cases, the ability still exists! Meanwhile, unborn humans still utterly lack any abilities in the first place, associated with personhood.

ignorance_is_curable said...

Those children almost always die within days after birth. We need do nothing.


The few that live, however, will almost certainly never be more than mere human animal organisms. When we choose, we have a special way of dealing with quite a wide variety of animal organisms, and there is nothing preventing us from treating those humans in that manner. Perhaps you have heard about it? They are called "pets".

Em said...

This is nothing more than a cop out. You're trying to avoid the natural logical consequences of your position. You feel no compassion or protectiveness toward the pre-born, but (I assume) you rightfully recognize the horror of allowing a mother to let her newborn starve. You're avoiding the logical implications of your own argument, because your feelings are getting in the way.


Even if a law is "stupid" and illogical, should we keep it in place because it has "broad acceptance?" If newborns are nonpersons, violating the autonomy rights of their parents in requiring that they care for the child is a grave injustice. Meaning that if you favor infanticide, abandonment, or neglect of newborns being illegal, you are supporting injustice against the parents. Are you okay with supporting injustice so long as it has "broad acceptance?"


As far as "why should you even want to even consider killing a human after it was born, when it is legal to kill it before it is born?" I don't know, ask Casey Anthony. Ask anybody in prison for killing or neglecting their kids. Maybe new circumstances arose which put them in a situation different than the one they were in while pregnant. Maybe new financial difficulties, or job loss, or a diagnosis of Downs Syndrome at birth. Maybe they didn't see their kid's lives as having moral value. Maybe they didn't even know they were pregnant until they gave birth. Maybe the mother didn't like the idea of a surgical abortion, and instead preferred to painlessly euthanize the newborn.


Imagine, please, that there's some kind of large scale catastrophic event that results in the destruction of our Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and all our books of laws, and now we've got to make all new laws. There's no precedent for anything; we're just making laws on what now seems to be logical and just.


In that situation, would you, or would you not, support the legal abandonment or even killing of newborns? Yes or no.

ignorance_is_curable said...

I do support very-late-term abortions, and I do not support infanticide. There are actually two major differences between the newborn and the almost-ready-to-be-born.


The first difference is purely physical. An overall unborn human organism consists of two major components. The part that gets the most attention is often called "the fetus". But another part is often overlooked by abortion opponents, and that part is "the placenta".


When pregnancy begins, it begins because an early-stage organism known as the "blastocyst" has just implanted itself into the womb. Every cell in the blastocyst qualifies as a "totipotent stem cell", but shortly after implantation, the cells start to specialize. Some of them become the placenta, and some become the embryo/fetus, and a few become the umbilical cord that connects them. All through pregnancy the three things are part of one overall organism.


The fetus portion cannot survive without the placenta, which qualifies as an "organ", exactly like the heart or liver qualifies as an organ. An unborn human could legitimately be called "a baby under construction", because when the construction process is finished, the end-result is a human that no longer needs its placenta --an actual baby, that is.


If you started with an unborn human that was just 10 minutes away from birth, and used a special tool to cut the umbilical cord, that human would be dead before the birthing process finished. Losing the supply of oxygen can do that to just about any human at body temperature in less than 10 minutes.


So there really is a very significant physical difference between a newborn human and an unborn human even minutes before birth. The unborn needs its placenta, and the newborn doesn't.


The second difference concerns the "modus operandi" for survival, and also involves the placenta. An unborn human takes resources from its mother's body. It dumps toxic biowastes into its mother's body. And it also infuses its mother's body with addictive substances. All to stay alive.


If some adult human came up to you and started doing those things to you, because that human wanted to stay alive, you would be within your rights to have that adult arrested for assault. You certainly have the right to make the assaults stop.


Now consider a newborn human, which does none of those horrible things, as soon as the umbilical cord is cut. It's modus operandi for survival changes utterly; it can now only survive by receiving gifts. It is physically unable to take anything besides breaths of air.
========


"The premise of your arguments are so ridiculously wrong and unnecessarily grandiloquent and insulting."
--------
NOPE. My arguments are solidly based on Facts. The arguments of abortion opponents, however, are based on nonsense.

The Nun said...

LN,
My thoughts exactly.

I have often thought of replying: ignorance cure thyself.

ignorance_is_curable said...

People who want offspring can just as easily call a pregnancy a "baby under construction" as people who don't want offspring. There is nothing insulting or threatening about that Fact. Can you specify what exactly is gained by lying to yourself about a pregnancy?


Perhaps you should look up some History, regarding, say, the 1700s, in which about 50% of babies died before the age of three, mostly due to disease. I've read that adults were very reluctant to become emotionally attached, because so many babies died that emotional detachment was the only way to psychologically protect themselves.


Despite modern medical advances for infants and toddlers, it remains a Fact that about 1/7 to 1/6 (roughly 15%) of all pregnancies Naturally miscarry. Emotional detachment is known to work when faced with a potential for an undesired death.


Can you specify what you or the unborn loses, if you disengage your emotions from the actions you take to try to carry a pregnancy to term? Well?

Em said...

Most people refer to the pre-born as babies most of the time, whether they're pro-choice or pro-life. ("Fetus" is only insisted upon when advocating for abortion.) "Baby" is just a term of endearment given to young humans.


If a woman's newborn had a severe illness, would you be careful to use the term "neonate," and remind her that her child was only a "baby under construction," so as to spare her emotional pain if her offspring died?


And with all due respect, all you've done by describing how a fetus gets sustenance from an umbilical cord is point out some well-known and obvious facts of embryology. Fetuses and newborns both require oxygen, nutrients, and energy to survive. A fetus gets things things in a different manner than a newborn does. Why exactly is that difference relevant?


Also, I feel like this has been addressed on this site before, but there is a large distinction between a human that has not yet developed the traits we commonly associate with personhood, and an animal that never will. A turtle or mouse or amoeba, for instance, will never develop self-awareness, or in the case of the amoeba, even consciousness, because those traits are in no way a part of what they are. A fetus on the other hand, MUST possess those traits in some manner in order for them to be fully developed later on. They can't come out of nowhere. If I kill an amoeba, I am not wiping out years of conscious experience. If I kill a zygote, I am.


Imagine that you take an amazing, rare photograph with an old Polaroid camera. Say you got a picture of the Loch Ness monster while on a trip to Scotland. While you're waiting for the image to become clear, someone else excitedly snatches it from you, but, not seeing the Loch Ness monster, throws it away in disappointment, and you cannot retrieve it. In response to your anger, they say "What? It was just brown smudges, after all. It was only a potential picture of the Loch Ness monster, not an actual one. It hadn't yet developed the characteristics of the Loch Ness monster yet, so it wasn't really valuable."


What would you say in response?

Clinton said...

It's ironic. Pro-choice people will rely on an outlandish analogy (the violinist), yet they consisently seem to fail to understand that for an analogy to succeed, it has to be similar in morally relevant respects, not in *all* respects, so they dismiss pro-life analogies without really engaging with them.

Clinton said...

If we ignoe IIC, he'll eventually go away. The comment threads always blow up because IIC continues his tirades with pointless and fallacious arguments, and everyone feels the need to point him out. The probem is IIC is neither reasonable nor willing to consider the possibility that he may be mistaken, so there really is no point in engaging with him.

William Cable said...

They are if the only way to justify it means removing their personhood.

William Cable said...

You talk about only the science matters as if it tells us what to think, but the point is it doesn't. It tells that the unborn are a part of our species with the ability to develop all the abilities our species has, just not yet. Whether that means we should determine their moral worth on their currently existing abilities or the fact that they are genetically destined to develop new capacties in a manner and to an extent is decided by their genes is a matter for philosophy. The philosophy governing the law atm by your admission is contradictory, and so indefensible.

Clinton said...

What's laughable is you can't even recognize your own lack of logical prowess. Sure, the law grants personhood to infants despite their lack of present abilities; that just shows that it would not be wrong for them to do the same to human embryos and human fetuses. The problem is you're not willing to follow your own logic to its conclusion: you should support infanticide, and you should petition the government to allow it.

William Cable said...

Why does it matter that they used to posses those characteristics before they went into the coma? What if they suffered catastrophic amnesia and their brains reverted to the state of newborns, with the capacity to relearn everything from scratch? Would it be ok to kill them?

William Cable said...

Linguistically yes, logically no,

Defamate said...

I, for one, have learned a lot from his posts. I don't think that he is trolling, just that he is very very thorough, and a rather intense debater.

Please don't ban him. The debate is very interesting and it keeps this place lively.

Defamate said...

He is talking about zygotes/embryos/fetus vs. people with fully formed brains in comas.

Why change it to newborns?

ignorance_is_curable said...

See a comment below, in which I talked about "the ability to use an ability".

ignorance_is_curable said...

No, the pre-born are not persons both according to existing Law, and the Objective Facts. But they also happen to have two major differences with newborn humans, as previously described. You asked what the difference was, and I told you.


I see you choose to gloss-over those differences by referring to "survive on its own", but that is an erroneous thing to do. The overall unborn human is physically significantly different from a newborn human, the moment the umbilical cord is cut. A major organ gets discarded as part of the overall birth event. (Trivia fact: A new mother cat will use its teeth to cut the umbilical cord, and then she will eat the afterbirth (the placenta), because it is rich in iron and protein.)


You wanted to believe that there wasn't any significant difference, and you were wrong. Deal with it!


Meanwhile, as I've written elsewhere on this page, while the Law is not synchronized with the Objective Facts about personhood, is is in sync with the Facts about the difference that birth makes, in the life of a human. Birth is not an arbitrary event! The Law's current assignment of personhood is of course an arbitrary thing, but at least it was applied to a point a point in life that is hugely significant in and of itself.


I see you, too, have jumped on the worthless "infanticide" bandwagon. The reason it is worthless, of course, is that it has nothing to do with abortion. Infanticide is an entirely different debate!

Em said...

TL;DR version: The fact that the law currently protects newborns is irrelevant, because the law can (obviously) be both wrong and unjust. If they're not persons, they shouldn't be recognized as such.

Okay, saying that saving preemies is going to result in everyone being born early is, IMO, a pretty far-fetched doomsday theory. Are there any studies indicating that the survival of individuals genetically predisposed to premature birth is leading to an increase in premature births? Second, even if there is, numerous people from all walks of life are genetically predisposed to require technological assistance at some point. Why only single out preemies? We not people who need chemotherapy The gene pool is at stake, after all.

“It was overthrown because people were adversely affected by it”

Yes, and the parents of newborns are adversely affected by laws requiring that they sacrifice their own autonomy for the welfare of their offspring.

“That makes you as bad as those who supported slavery, see?”

No, I don’t see. Whether or not one is a person in a moral sense is NOT dependent on whether or not the law declares one to be a person. Otherwise slavery would have been morally okay while it was legal purely because the law declared blacks to be non-persons. But they were people, so it wasn’t okay. The morality and justness of an action is entirely independent of whether or not the law recognizes that action’s victims as legal persons.

“I merely said I was comfortable with the existing law.”

But by your logic that law is unjust to parents. If you are “comfortable” with the law then you support the status quo, and so support injustice. If we were designing an entirely new system of laws without concern for what the law used to be, would you support a law allowing infanticide? Yes, we would remember that infanticide used to be illegal, but so what? Slavery used to be legal. Mankind makes progress by recognizing that many past laws and legal definitions were incorrect.

“Except that under the current law, newborns are granted person status”

Ignorance, THE LAW CAN BE WRONG. You consider a fetus to be a nonperson based on his or her lack of certain characteristics. If the law does one day recognize the preborn as persons, will you be okay with women being prevented from obtaining abortions, even though the nature of the fetus will be the same? Or will you want the law to change?

“You phrased that very badly.”

No, I didn’t. Infanticide and abandonment being illegal means that parents are obligated to care for the newborn. If newborns are non persons, that’s unjust. “I neither support nor oppose changing the law” is a cop out, because if a law is unjust, you should want it to CHANGE, not say you’re comfortable with things the way they are.

The law should change to reflect what is just. What is just does not change as a reflection of the law. Either someone is a moral person or they’re not. Why is it unjust to take away the legal personhood of young humans IF THEY’RE NOT ACTUALLY PEOPLE? That would just be rectifying an illogical error in the current system.

Sometimes prenatal a prenatal diagnosis is wrong. And possibly a woman could not realize she is pregnant until it is too late for the abortion pill and surgical abortion is the only option,and she wants to kill the baby painlessly. It doesn’t really matter exactly why, the point is that plenty of reasons exist why a person might be inclined to kill or abandon their newborn, as evidenced by the fact that people kill and abandon their newborns.

All this is relevant because the logical implication of your arguments in favor of legal abortion is that it is unjust for infanticide and infant abandonment to be illegal. Since an unjust law should be changed to become just, we should stop recognizing legally newborns as people if they aren’t, and end the injustice against their parents.

Em said...

I see what you are saying, but my point is that someone in a coma DOES NOT HAVE an ability for consciousness. They're not just "not using their ability," like I suppose you could argue if they were asleep and could wake up at any time; at the moment they literally have no ability to be conscious whatsoever, because their injured brain is not capable of it.

Jessie B said...

Well, he accused me for lying and twisted my post. If you are attention enough to other entries, you'll notice he did make name callings towards secular members. Namely, Stupid Prejudge, and so on.

Secular members did try to tolerant him, tho.

It's pretty clear that he doesn't want any civil discussion.

Mindyurbiz said...

Whether the differences you pointed out exist or not isn't the debate, it's whether or not they are at all sufficient to support your earlier statement "Unborn humans don't actually right-now have the capacity to exhibit the characteristics of persons." You are attempting to use being attached to a placenta and not being able to survive on ones own in the womb as the "... Capacity to exhibit the characteristics of persons"--characteristics you are basing your acceptance of LATE term abortions on. No one is denying that there are differences, that pre-borns are attached to a placenta and unable to survive on ones own. There are many more differences actually but none of the differences support your arguments. That's not "glossing" over anything, that's pointing out that your reasoning is flawed and that you cannot support what you're stating without falling into, in many cases, a slippery slope fallacy, to name but one. The fact is, you're glossing over my points. The only other place you can go is the erroneous bodily autonomy argument or use the violinist analogy but even this doesn't hold water as it, in short, relies on many false equivalents and the slippery slope too.

Mindyurbiz said...

Now I think you're a mere fool and I will not argue with one. You've utterly discredited yourself here

Defamate said...

Well, this family treated their PVS son like a pet, for 31 years:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/family-promises-life-son-vegetative-state-22214391


They might not have thought they did, but they did. Just like the people who keep anencephailc babies alive for as long as possible, and dress them up and treat them like dolls, even though nobody is home and never will be. It's disturbing.

Em said...

Yes, some fairly major physiological changes happen at birth. But WHY is that relevant to the moral value of the individual in question? Besides, the baby is developing continuously; birth is neither the end nor the beginning or development, only a milestone (albeit a relatively important one). Birth is what happens when the baby is big enough and strong enough, and the lungs are strong enough, that they are able to stop living in the mother’s womb, and live elsewhere. This obviously necessitates some rearranging of the manner in which they obtain nutrients and oxygen, but again, so what? So the baby stops requiring an organ he or she previously required, and requires the use of organs that previously weren’t needed for getting oxygen. How does that have any moral or philosophical implication?

“…wildly different from the organism that existed in the womb!” The preborn human behaves and interacts in a different manner than the born one, but he or she is, regardless, the exact same organism. Differences in behavior do not equate to moral inferiority.

Einstein and Hitler were both equally human persons, so I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. Nature has provided young humans with a potential to develop traits such as consciousness, self awareness, etc. The point is that a capacity (an ability to develop or express at some point) for those traits must exist at all points in their life, which separates them from animals.

I never said that a zygote had years of conscious experience behind it, I said that you are wiping out years of experience. Meaning you are preventing those experiences from happening. If you kill a toddler, you’re not wiping out years of conscious PAST experiences, you’re wiping out years of FUTURE experience. That’s what I meant. Obviously you can’t wipe out something that’s already happened.

Also whether their potential will be fulfilled in a “good” or a “bad” way is beside the point. We’re not talking about potential to cure cancer or run marathons or write symphonies, vs. becoming a drug dealer or a bum or something. The specific experiences that are to be had are not a measure of the inherent value or personhood of the individual’s life.

The point of the analogy is that the undeveloped Polaroid is just as valuable as the developed one, because they capture the same thing. The undeveloped one just needs a little more time to fully express it. Similarly, an undeveloped human is just as valuable as a developed one.


The fact that they need help to get there doesn’t diminish their value or personhood. You’re basically saying that, because children need help to continue developing, they are therefore morally infer or.

As far as feral children go, your implication is that, as
long as children require care and guidance to develop certain traits (I assume you mean traits like an understanding of morality and the ability to meaningfully communicate,
since obviously feral children are conscious), they are nonpersons for that
time. So exactly how high are we going to go here? 2 years? 3 years? 4 years?
When do kids stop being animals and start being people in your book? How long until it is just for their parents to be required to care for them? Personally,
I would say that feral children ARE people. Not potential people…people with
potential.

If you were out in the wilderness (in the lawless
undiscovered wilderness, say, where there were no laws recognizing personhood
or rights at all), and you somehow came across a feral child, would you regard
her as merely an animal? Or as an unfortunate person in need of care and guidance?
Would you be justified in killing her? Would you call anyone to help? Would you leave her there to die?

ignorance_is_curable said...

I see what you are saying, however my point was that someone in a coma does not have an ability for consciousness, period.
--------
And you are wrong, period. Otherwise the person in a coma would never wake up, and plenty actually d wake up, eventually.


So that, the ability to wake up, is at least one ability that someone in a coma possesses, but simply doesn't use until good-and-ready to use it. If one, why not many others?
=============


I think your analogies would fit better with a person who was being anesthetized, where there was a continuous outside force preventing them from exercising a particular trait (in this case, consciousness, in the case of the watch owner, looking at the watch, etc.). Whereas with a coma patient, some event occurs which changes the patient himself, that is, it severely damages his brain, and it is the physiology of his own body that renders him entirely incapable of consciousness.
------------
Are you sure you are not confusing "coma" with other possible conditions? There is brain-death, for example, and the "persistent vegetative state". It is my understanding that the PVS can be tricky to diagnose, that sometimes someone is declared to be that way but is actually only in a comparatively simple coma. A true persistent vegetative state is, like brain-death, a situation in which the abilities associated with personhood have been destroyed (one of which is self-consciousness; look up the "mirror test"). This means that when the condition can be unambiguously identified, the person should be declared dead.
=============


Or you could take it further and say a genetic predisposition led to a blood clot and then a coma. He has absolutely no capability to be conscious at the present and cannot wake up until his body heals of its own accord (opposed to someone else ceasing the action that's causing unconsciousness), and it's entirely due to his own physiology and genetics.
-------
None of that actually changes the possession of an ability. All it does is prevent its use.
===============


Just as as a pre-born human's present incapability to be conscious is entirely due to her own physiology and genetics (and it is how she is supposed to be at that point in time).
---------
That's not entirely correct. In the later parts of pregnancy a wake/sleep cycle can be detected. This would be associated with the same sort of consciousness that, say, an awake rat possesses, aware of its surroundings, but not self-aware (see the "mirror test").
=============


Neither of them have brains remotely capable of consciousness*,
*Depending on the age of the pre-born.
------------
FALSE. Not the last part, but the first, "neither of them". Like I previously wrote, if the person in the coma did not possess the ability to awaken, then that person would never, ever awaken. So, every one that has actually awakened proves you to be wrong. Abilities exist even when not getting used!
==============


only human DNA that means they will hopefully be conscious at some point in the future.

--------------
That is now only about the unborn human, and about "potential". Meanwhile, the person in the coma has already fulfilled personhood potential (why else would I specify person in a coma?). There is no need to fulfill it twice.

ignorance_is_curable said...

Interesting scenario. Can you offer any real-world cases of that? Otherwise I would have to think that it is not possible for the brain to revert to the degree you hypothesize. And then, based on the data about "feral children", and the associated "window of opportunity" for acquiring personhood characteristics while a toddler, I would guess it would be impossible for the victim in this situation to re-acquire the characteristics of personhood. The net result would be an adult version of a feral child, just a clever animal.


Meanwhile, the Law still grants person status to all humans after birth, including, for example, the severely mentally handicapped, forever unable to acquired the Objective characteristics of personhood. Why should the victim of your scenario be treated differently?

ignorance_is_curable said...

Whether the differences you pointed out exist or not isn't the debate, it's whether or not they are at all sufficient to support your earlier statement "Unborn humans don't actually right-now have the capacity to exhibit the characteristics of persons."
-------------
FALSE. You are conflating unrelated things. The difference that birth makes has nothing to do with the Objective Facts regarding characteristics of personhood. It only relates to why the Law can decide to grant legal person status after birth, and exclude the unborn. The difference that birth makes is very significant!
=======


You are attempting to use being attached to a placenta and not being able to survive on ones own in the womb as the "... Capacity to exhibit the characteristics of persons"--characteristics you are basing your acceptance of LATE term abortions on.
---------
FALSE, AGAIN, because of more-of-the-same conflation of unrelated things. "Capacity" arguments relate to the Objective Facts about personhood, not the Law, which was created before many relevant facts about unborn humans, and also about persons, were discovered. Basically, the current Law is independent of all Science-related personhood arguments.
==============


No one is denying that there are differences, that pre-borns are attached to a placenta and unable to survive on ones own. There are many more differences actually but none of the differences support your arguments.
--------
If you define what I'm arguing about, such as you did with the above nonsensical conflations, then it is easy for you to conclude my arguments cannot be supported. But since I don't define my arguments that way, you have no case here.
=============


That's not "glossing" over anything, that's pointing out that your reasoning is flawed
-------------
[insert belly-laughter here]
==============


and that you cannot support what you're stating without falling into, in many cases, a slippery slope fallacy, to name but one.
------------
[more belly-laughter] I have definitely not fallen into any slippery slopes, mostly because I keep my understanding of the Law distinct from my understanding of the Science.
==============


The fact is, you're glossing over my points.
-------------
So far as I can see, you actually haven't made any points. You have stated some worthless blather, however. For example, talking about infanticide is worthless blather, because infanticide only affects humans after birth, while abortion only affect humans before birth. And we are supposed to be discussing aspects of the Overall Abortion Debate here!
=============


The only other place you can go is the erroneous bodily autonomy argument or use the violinist analogy but even this doesn't hold water as it, in short, relies on many false equivalents and the slippery slope too.

------------
[still more belly-laughter] Nope, I don't need to go to those places at all. If you would like to see the full arsenal of Facts at my disposal, in the Overall Abortion Debate, go to fightforsense.wordpress.com.

ignorance_is_curable said...

See? I do know what I'm talking about!!!

William Cable said...

'So that, the ability to wake up, isat least one ability that someone in a coma possesses, but simply doesn't use until good-and-ready to use it. If one, why not many others?'



Exactly the same logic applies to foeti. Your simply reinforcing the Pro Life case

William Cable said...

Stop making assertions without sufficient argument to back it up! You have provided no good reason why the placenta makes a difference to personhood. A baby born prematurely can survive without the placenta, so far from being an organ it is merely a tool the foetus is using whilte oral nutrition is temporarily not an option, like a hospital patient on a IV Drip.

William Cable said...

People asleep go through a dreamless phase too. As for comas, the fact that their brain needs external healing whereas the foetus is designed to develop on it's own further shows that if anything they're more human in terms of immediate capacity than coma patients.

William Cable said...

'he is very very thorough'


And very very wrong

William Cable said...

'There is no Objective data supporting the notion that unborn humans qualify as persons per the Generic/Universal Facts of Science. '


That's because 'Person' is not a scientific term, but a philosophical one. The philosophical prolife ccase is consistent and logical, if you'd actually been reading our posts, the case you been making is quite simply nonsensical.

ignorance_is_curable said...

And in the suitably future distance, exactly how is "philosophy" going to determine whether or not various alien organisms living on other planets qualify as persons, or as mere animals?

Meanwhile, scientists are studying the subject, and they are finding out important stuff. For one example, read this (prepend the http):
www.csub.edu/~mault/symbols.htm



Net result, in the suitably distant future, it will be Science, not philosophy, that makes the tests that determines which organisms qualify as mere animals, and which qualify as persons.

ignorance_is_curable said...

Exactly the same logic applies to foeti. Your simply reinforcing the Pro Life case
------------
FALSE. Because unborn humans don't possess any person-identifying characteristics in the first place, while the person in the coma does possess those characteristics. Being in the coma has not destroyed those abilities. And so there is no reinforcement of the nonsense exhibited by abortion opponents.

ignorance_is_curable said...

Long before the Law was written here in the USA about granting personhood at birth, it was recognized that unborn humans qualified as "alive" when they began to "kick" in the womb. Why didn't the Law assign personhood at that time, instead of birth?


One answer relates to a rather ancient adage, "Don't count your chickens before they hatch!" There is still a significant miscarriage rate between the first "kicks" in the womb, and birth.


Since, we have learned lots more about the differences between the pre-born and the post-born. None of that ever offered a good rationale for changing the assignment of person status at birth, until the Abortion Debate started arguing about the Objective nature of "personhood".


And the result? The Objective Data about personhood strengthens the case that abortions should be allowed. Arguing about infanticide just distracts from that Main Fact.

ignorance_is_curable said...

People asleep go through a dreamless phase too. As for comas, the fact that their brain needs external healing
------
Please support that last thing with some evidence! Because so far as I'm aware, most brains that need healing do so from the inside, not needing help from the outside.
=============


whereas the foetus is designed to develop on it's own further shows that if anything they're more human in terms of immediate capacity than coma patients.

-----------
NONSENSE. The unborn utterly lack the capacity to develop any traits of personhood. They have to grow lots of capacity, much of it done well after birth, before they acquire enough to become able to develop the characteristics of personhood.

ignorance_is_curable said...

I am not in any position to complain about long posts. The length of yours didn't keep me from replying.

William Cable said...

Facts are thin on the ground where you're concerned. Once again, your definition of person would necessarily deny personhood to anyone not fully conscious and in full possession of their critical faculties, and your attempts to refute that have been based on equally nonsensical and unsubstantiated assertions.

William Cable said...

A comatose person can only wake up in the same way a foetus can grow up, ie by physical developments beyond their control. Your distinction is meaningless.

William Cable said...

Why should they be treated the same? Why should the law treated any of the examples you mafde the same. The law is not an indepedently existing thing beyond human control, we can change it if we think it needs to. We prolifers want the law changed to fully recognise the facts, why are you so unwilling to do the same for your (and I use the word losely here) facts?

William Cable said...

Foeti posess them in the same way comatose people do. It is an inherent feature of the time of creature they are, and given time will display them. Your wilful ignoring of facts and logic is staggering to behold.

William Cable said...

There is no objective data about personhood as personhood is a philosphical not a scientific term. Given the common definition of personhood used now and at the time of these Supreme court decisions the scientific evidence reinforces the prolife argument and had it been available at the time those decisions would not have been made.

William Cable said...

'NONSENSE. The unborn utterly lack the capacity to develop any traits of personhood. They have to grow lots of capacity, much of it done well after birth, before they acquire enough to become able to develop the characteristics of personhood'



Developing the capacity to have characteristics and developing characteristics in this case is basically the same thing, stop abusing the English language.

William Cable said...

If that is the case tell me what textbook out there offers a scientific definition of personhood?

ignorance_is_curable said...

The Fact is, the topic is still being researched! Wait until they are done; and then you can expect to see a formal scientific definition.

ignorance_is_curable said...

Not quite. I'm mostly not interested in the topic of infanticide. I'm here because the primary topic is abortion, and infanticide has nothing to do with abortion.

ignorance_is_curable said...

On the contrary, it is your assertion that is worthless, the claim that being unable to use an ability means that the ability doesn't exist. I've already presented examples in which an ability clearly still exists, in spite of situations that inhibit the use of those abilities. You have offered nothing that supports your claim, and that's what makes your claim worthless.

ignorance_is_curable said...

I will grant that sufficient ignorant blather at that time might have made a difference. But nowadays far too many additional facts are available and are becoming widely known. And the Courts have been paying attention to more stuff than just what Science has to say (prepend the http):

www.sfwa.org/2010/10/star-trek-cited-by-texas-supreme-court/

Not to mention that politicians have been paying attention, too (prepend the http):
www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/8025832/UN-to-appoint-space-ambassador-to-greet-alien-visitors.html



Your prejudiced and parochial definition of "person" is doomed.

ignorance_is_curable said...

Developing the capacity to have characteristics and developing characteristics in this case is basically the same thing,
-----
AGREED, which means that unborn humans do not initially have the capacity that you previously claimed they had! They only have potential.
=============


as one inevitably leads from the other and is designed by nature to do so,
----------
FALSE, since it is not inevitable that the traits of personhood will be developed. Else there would be no such thing as a "feral child".
================


stop abusing the English language.

-------------
TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF AGAIN, I SEE.

William Cable said...

I have you just haven't been listening, oh and by the way, the old 'potentially dead' canard actually backs up our side. We don't have the right to decide when someone else fulfills their potential to be dead, and the same applies to the unborn.

William Cable said...

You know, just because you say your opinion constitutes an objective fact, doesn't mean it does.

William Cable said...

'FALSE. comatose people are generally known to have acquired abilities associated with personhood. No fetus has everdone that.'


So by your logic it would be ok to burn down someones house if they haven't moved in yet?

William Cable said...

'AGREED, which means that unborn humans do not initially have the capacity that you previously claimed they had!They only have potential.'



Yes they do. Growing up is part of process and and there is no cut off point so if they have the inherent ability to get the required capacity then logically the have the inherent ability to get the required characteristics.

William Cable said...

Personhood is a philosophical term. Science provides the raw matierial and philosophers decide what to make of it.

ignorance_is_curable said...

I have you just haven't been listening,
------
FALSE. I've been paying close attention, and pointing out the nonsense spout along the way.
===========


oh and by the way, the old 'potentially dead' canard actually backs up our side.
---------
FALSE, AGAIN, as explained below.
=============


We don't have the right to decide when someone else fulfills their potential to be dead,
--------
Are you seriously expecting it to not be obvious that someone is dead???
==============


and the same applies to the unborn.

-------
The unborn can never fulfill a potential to exhibit the Objective traits of a person, while unborn. Therefore it becomes impossible to prove that an unborn human can qualify as a person.

ignorance_is_curable said...

So by your logic it would be ok to burn down someones house if they haven't moved in yet?

-------
Be more specific. Are you talking about, say, a birdhouse, in which the potential occupant is a mere animal?


By the way, there is one other analogy I'd like to present to you, regarding "possessing" stuff while in a coma.


Consider a nice stainless-steel pair of scissors. In this scenario you possess them and your house and the property upon which the house sets. You wrap the scissors in oilcloth and bury them in the back yard. Even if you forget where you buried them, you still possess those scissors.

ignorance_is_curable said...

Duh, infanticide is illegal because infants have legal person status, and have had it since the founding of the nation. The unborn, however, have never in that time had legal person status. Any laws protecting them had nothing to do with personhood.

And I see you still spout Stupid Prejudice about the unborn. They are certainly human, but they no more deserve to be called "beings" than dogs deserve to be called "beings". Or, are planning on forever-more calling dogs "canine beings", and cats "feline beings", and rabbits "sylvilagine beings", and so on, as the non-Prejudiced thing to do?



Regarding changing the law per more-recent facts, you know full well that things like that can take a significant amount of time. Just think about how long it took women to acquire the right to vote, for example. And they apparently need yet another Amendment to get equal pay for equal work....

ignorance_is_curable said...

See? You stopped talking about "capacity" because I'm right about what the word really means. Now you want to talk about "inherent ability" as if that was different from "potential". It still doesn't work! Because a significant number of the unborn die before birth --about 65% when starting at the zygote stage. Looks to me like they mostly have the inherent ability to die, not to become persons!

GEIxBattleRifle said...

What's a troll? lol

Defamate said...

In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally[3][4] or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[5] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion


---------


Clearly, IIC is just here to harass everyone, right?

GEIxBattleRifle said...

I agree with you ignorance.
It's time to start the human pet category. Starting with: newborn humans, severe and profoundly mentally retarded humans.
Sometimes it surprises me that a pro lifer want to call even a newborn human a person even though we treat them like pets.

Clinton said...

And this is why I don't interact with you. Not only are you dismissive of anyone who disagrees with you, but you can't admit when you're wrong. You're absolutely mistaken about the law. The unborn were legal persons in the United States protected by the 14th Amendment before Roe v. Wade

William Cable said...

As far as I can seeI was talking about both capacity and ability being part of the same process. You've completely ignored my point about development being a process. As for the fact that a large proportion die, so what, a lot of pensioners die of natural causes doesn't mean they're not people

William Cable said...

'You are not making sense. The comatose person still possesses the Objective traits of personhood, and the foetus does not. Nothingyou have written has changed that Fact.'



Not seeking to change, I'm just pointing out that by the same fact a foetus possesses the objective traits as well.

GEIxBattleRifle said...

It seems throughout this whole exchange with ignorance here you still don't see the difference between ability and functioning. Even it took me a bit before two weeks ago to see the difference and I understand it now.

GEIxBattleRifle said...

LOL you would have to be woke up to see if you still have those abilities and if you don't, they won't be present. If you still have them, it falls under ''already existing'' category.
To check to see if a newborn has them, you wake them up and see that they don't have them so therefore they lack the mental abilities in the first place.

GEIxBattleRifle said...

It's very obvious to me and I'm still in high school lol.

GEIxBattleRifle said...

The fetus won't gain them until after birth.

GEIxBattleRifle said...

I was just joking around.
IIC is here to debate and convert pro lifers to pro choice like he has done with me when I went to his website from another website he also to sometimes debate on.

GEIxBattleRifle said...

Yes we would have no choice but to kill them since in this case pro lifers like yourself only delayed the inevitable. Not taking up the good old saying ''Too much of a good thing can always be a bad thing'' which is what right to life rightfully falls under.
Now we would have to spend more time killing and dumping the waste somewhere since they got bigger now. While in the case of abortion it could've done quicker when the unborn human was like only 3 or 4 inches long.

LevelUpPlease said...

Maybe there were more PCers that answered, but I only saw my response and the troll which people so readily engaged. I disregarded the medical inaccuracies and answered the hypothetical as if Kelsey's assumptions were correct.

I don't think anyone, PL or PC argued that the fetus was or was not a person. And, ironically, one of the most eloquent arguments against demonizing the Munoz family came from a very Catholic, very Pro-Life woman named Stacy Trascanos. I'd like to see someone accuse her of hostility and bigotry against the unborn.

LevelUpPlease said...

It's ok. I still answered as if all things were equal.

William Cable said...

They won't start to display them till after birth, they possessed them since the moment of conception.

Rachel Anne Enders said...

I think it's a sad case all around, and I also think people are simplifying it.

Defamate said...

Then how do you explain anencephaly? They had brains when they were zygotes, but don't at birth?

https://www.google.ca/search?q=anencephaly&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=8QO&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=0ybsUsXbJpCHogSG7IC4Cg&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ

How about babies born without lungs and other organs? They had them as zygotes, but not at birth?

GEIxBattleRifle said...

I totally agree with you Cable. When I go to wake up my sister's baby to bottle feed her here in a little bit she should have them per your claim. Oh wait.....

Defamate said...

You have said that every zygote has those capabilities. So, it doesn't follow that a brainless baby should be incapable of manifesting them - if the zygote has them, then so should the brainless baby!

William Cable said...

If a cure in found for ancephaly, then yeah it will. A foetus by contrast doesn't need a 'cure' as there's nothing wrong with it, it just needs to be left alone and will manifest them in good time. This really is a very simple concept, you must be employing some Olympic standard mental gymnastics to keep missing it.

Defamate said...

A foetus by contrast doesn't need a 'cure' as there's nothing wrong with
it, it just needs to be left alone and will manifest them in good time.


Really? Prove it.

William Cable said...

'Really? Prove it.'



Watch a baby grow up from birth to adulthood. There's your proof

Defamate said...

If a cure in found for ancephaly, then yeah it will.

Sometimes there are errors from conception. Sometimes there are errors that appear as the pregnancy progresses.

So, you cannot say, without a doubt, that every zygote is perfectly healthy and that every zygote will always lead to a perfectly healthy baby, and that all we are missing is a 'cure'.

You could have a genetically perfect zygote in a petri dish, implant it in a woman, and midway through the pregnancy there is an error and everything goes to hell.

You are incorrect in saying that every zygote and embryo fetus if left alone will always result in a perfectly healthy baby (and that all that's missing is a cure).

Defamate said...

So 'fetal deformity' doesn't exist then?

https://www.google.ca/search?q=fetal+deformity&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=BcM&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=yEHtUpvMJ8zmoAT7qIHIAQ&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ


It isn't a thing you say?


anencephaly
hydracephaly
potter's syndome
tay sachs


All of those don't exist, and every fetus just needs to be left alone?


Interesting.

Defamate said...

If a cure in found for ancephaly, then yeah it will.

I will add one last thing. You have proven my point, and IIC's point, and GEIXBattleRifle's point - that you won't know that those capabilities can be manifested until the fetus/baby is able to manifest them.

So you are wrong to say that every single conception = a healthy baby that just hasn't manifested it's capabilities yet.

William Cable said...

WTF is wrong with you? I never said that. I'm talking about healthy foeti which is why they for a start should not be aborted. As for those with ancephaly, atm I'm not against abortion to avoid prolonging the agony, but if a cure can be found then there will be no justification for aborting them either.

William Cable said...

'So you are wrong to say that every single conception = a healthy baby that just hasn't manifested it's capabilities yet.'



I never at any point said that. Of course you can't know whether a foetus will be healthy or not, that doesn;t give you any right to kill it.


You, IIC and the others seem to have learned your debating skills from a primary school playground

Defamate said...

I never said that. I'm talking about healthy foeti which is why they for a start should not be aborted.

Except you don't know the fetus is healthy until it's born.

That's the point you seem to be missing.

Defamate said...

William Cable wrote:

"" I'm talking about healthy foeti which is why they for a start should not be aborted.""

Defamate said...

You should help William Cable out.

ignorance_is_curable said...

And if the philosophers are honest, then they will go along with the most rational conclusions from the Science. Humans are not persons just because they are human!

Defamate said...

A person who falls ill is not the same as a zygote that is never able to manifest the traits that we associate with personhood.

Defamate said...

I am muffy btw*wink*

William Cable said...

That comment is not the same as saying 'every single conception = healthy baby'. Just how stupid are you?

William Cable said...

'Except you don't know the fetus is healthy until it's born.

That's the point you seem to be missing.'



I'm not missing that point, I've addressed it several times, the fact that you don't know whether it will be healthy is not sufficient ground to kill it. That would make as much sense as legalising infanticide on the grounds that you can't be sure whether it will die of cot death.

ignorance_is_curable said...

I'm not disputing the lack of a right to kill people. I'm disputing the nonsensical claim that unborn humans qualify as people.
==============


'The unborn can never fulfill a potential to exhibit the Objective traits of a person, while unborn. Therefore it becomes impossible to prove that an unborn human can qualify as a person.'


A comatose person can never fulfill the traits of personhood while in a coma. Once again, your arguments fall flat in the face of a moment's thought.
-------------
HAH! You didn't think about it enough, and you ended up falling into my trap. When the unborn human is born, it still cannot exhibit any of the Objective traits of persons!


But when the person in the coma wakes up, that person can exhibit those traits. Which therefore totally supports what I've been saying all along, that being in a coma does not mean that the abilities are lost (therefore they are still persons), and that unborn humans don't have the abilities in the first place (therefore they are not persons).

William Cable said...

That's circular logic, you've been trying to claim the fact that we can't be sure whether a zygote will survive means that it's not a person and ok to kill it, I've pointed out why that's wrong and you've responded by again asserting it's not human for entirely different (though equally incorrect) reasons. Again, I have to ask,did you learn your debating skills from a six year old?

William Cable said...

'HAH! You didn't think about it enough, and you ended up falling into my trap. When the unborn human is born, it still cannot exhibit any of the Objective traits of persons!

But when the person in the coma wakes up, that person can exhibit those traits. Which therefore totally supports what I've been saying all along, that being in a coma doesnot mean that the abilities are lost (therefore they are still persons), and that unborn humans don't have the abilities in the first place (therefore they are not persons).'



I don't think you've thought about anything you've said at all. It doesn't matter that humans can't manifest personhood immediately after being born, they will do eventually. The length of time taken is irrelevant

Defamate said...

Its not a mere matter of survival. Its that there is no guarantee that we will get a baby at the end. The potential is there , for sure, but it will not be realized until it is capable of being realized. A recipe for a pie is not a pie. A pie in the oven is not a pie either - not until it is properly cooked and actually functions as a pie.

Defamate said...

You are claiming that all fetii are healthy. How you know this I have no clue. Are you clairvoyant?

William Cable said...

No I'm not!!! I have never said that what the hell is wrong with you! Even if I had, how is that relevant?!

William Cable said...

'Its not a mere matter of survival. Its that there is no guarantee that we will get a baby at the end. The potential is there , for sure, but it will not be realized until it is capable of being realized. A recipe for a pie is not a pie. A pie in the oven is not a pie either - not until it is properly cooked and actually functions as a pie.'


I know it's not a mere matter of survival, but that is what you have been going on about so that was the point I was addressing, you are trying to change the subject. As for you change in subject, a pie in the oven, is a pie, just an uncooked pie. It has all the necessary attributes of a pie, it just needs to be cooked to realise them, just the same way zygote possesses all the inherent qualities of personhood, it just needs to pass through the embryo, foetus and infant stages to get there.

ignorance_is_curable said...

I assume this is another facile attempt to be clever, and once again it's meaning is impenetrable to rational people. The point I was making is that just because the unborn have not had the opportunity to exercise their inherent capacity for personhood does not mean they don't possess it.
--------
Your point is worthless for two interrelated reasons, and I've pointed out both, before. First, "capacity" refers to something that exists right now --so if the capacity exists for an unborn to acquire the characteristics of personhood, they could in theory do it while in the womb.


But the Fact is (and "second"), no human acquires those characteristics until well after birth --even at birth they still lack sufficient capacity to acquire the traits of personhood. Their capacity must grow before they can actually acquire the traits of persons.


Therefore the Logical Conclusion is inescapable, that unborn humans don't have the capacity to exhibit the traits of persons, simply because they don't have the capacity to acquire the traits of persons. And all your protestations to the contrary are utterly worthless nonsense.
===============


With your scissors analogy, imagine those scissors came in thick plastic packaging you really struggled to open. Even though you haven't used them yet and are not presently capable of using them, you still own them.

-----------
And so you fall into another trap. The scissors represent the ability to cut something. The ability to use the scissors is a different thing altogether! The unborn human does not possess any abilities equivalent to what the scissors represent. The Facts are very clear about that --humans don't acquire Objective Generic personhood abilities (analogized here as 'scissors') until well after birth.

ignorance_is_curable said...

The data exists regardless of the philosophical interpretations. Are you seeking an excuse to apply "spin" (as in "political spin") to the data?


How would you specify Objective Generic differences between all possible types of persons, anywhere in the Universe, and mere/ordinary animals? You cannot do it without making use of hard data that is independent of "spin", regardless of whether or not philosophers are involved!

ignorance_is_curable said...

'The comatose person still possess the Objective traits of personhood, and the foetus does not. Nothing you have written has changed that Fact.'


Not seeking to change, I'm just pointing out that by the same fact a foetus possesses the objective traits as well.
============


Then you are not telling the Truth. Because when the fetus is born, it fails to exhibit any of the traits of personhood. But when a comatose person wakes, traits of personhood are almost immediately exhibited.

ignorance_is_curable said...

Where did you get the notion that zygotes had brains??? A zygote consists of a single cell, and a brain consists of many cells.


Anencephaly happens as a consequence of failure of one aspect of the overall growth process inside the womb. The zygote multiplies to become many cells, and those cells start to specialize to become different things, such as the placenta and the heart and the liver and the brain... except that if there is a flaw in that "specialization" process, a vital organ could fail to be produced. Like the brain.


I suspect that if you dissected all miscarried fetuses, you would find some of them failed to have hearts --and so they died and were then miscarried. But the brain isn't so important in the womb as the heart, so the fatal lack of its presence doesn't become obvious until after birth.

Defamate said...

Dude: re-read. I never stated that I believe that zygotes have brains.

WC, however, seems to believe that they do! (and just haven't manifested them)

ignorance_is_curable said...

Ah, so you are one of those who doesn't understand how the Law really works, when the Supreme Court overturns a Law! Read this (prepend the http only):
answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071203162639AAAP2CR



(Also, you have made a mistake; the 14th amendment specifically mentions "persons born", and says nada about the unborn.)

William Cable said...

'And so you fall into another trap. The scissors represent the ability to cut something. The ability to use the scissors is a different thing altogether! The unborn human does not possess any abilities equivalent to what the scissors represent. The Facts are very clear about that --humans don't acquire Objective Generic personhood abilities (analogized here as 'scissors') until well after birth.'



Wrong- they do not exhibit them until well after birth, they possess them from conception. All your talk about capacity to acquire capacity is meaningless because they are an inevitable process, you manifest one so that you can manifest the next, and so on. Imagine a Russian doll, you have to open up several dolls to get to the final one, but it was always there.

Defamate said...

Waitwaitwaitwait. I just reread what you said earlier. Let me get this straight -- the person talking about a "cure" for anencephaly is accusing ME of mental gymnastics? HAHAHAH. OK, sure. But wait! Let's not bury or cremate the dead. We can freeze them instead, in case a "cure" for death is found!

William Cable said...

Your putting your own spin on the data, which I have spent far longer than really I should have refuting, you just can't bring yourself to admit the fact.

Clinton said...

No, it doesn't. Justice Blackmun, during Roe v. Wade, *reinterpreted* the term person in the Constitution specifically to deny protection to the unborn. Do your homework. Also, the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, which means the U.S. had been in existence for almost one hundred years before that Amendment became law.

ignorance_is_curable said...

My reasoning is based on relevant Facts that you are desperately trying to ignore --or, worse, trying to get me to ignore. Too bad; I'm not going to ignore relevant Facts.

ignorance_is_curable said...

'he is very very thorough'

And very very wrong

-------
Your mere say-so is worthless without evidence. But so far all you have offered is worthless blather, not Facts.

ignorance_is_curable said...

NOPE, because the only basis you have offered, for making such a ridiculous claim, is the notion of equating the potential with the actual. And those two things are different things, not equate-able.


Otherwise, as previously pointed out, you can be equated right now with your future (even if it was 1000 centuries from now) corpse, and be buried six feet under. All because you want something that merely has potential to be treated as if its potential was right-now actualized.

ignorance_is_curable said...

It doesn't matter that humans can't manifest personhood immediately after being born, they will do eventually. The length of time taken is irrelevant.

----------
FALSE, TWICE. First because you are wrong to say "they will do eventually" as if it was inevitable. The existence of "feral children" proves that it is not inevitable for a human to eventually manifest the Generic traits of persons.


And second, you are quite specifically talking about "potential" here. Potential is not equal to the actual. Are you really that interested in being buried six-feet-under right now, simply because you have the potential for it?

ignorance_is_curable said...

humans don't acquire Objective Generic personhood abilities (analogized here as 'scissors') until well after birth.'

Wrong- they do not exhibit them until well after birth, they possess them from conception.
------
FALSE, because otherwise it would be impossible for "feral children" to exist, and they actually do exist.
=============


All your talk about capacity to acquire capacity is meaningless because they are an inevitable process,
--------
FALSE, because otherwise it would be impossible for "feral children" to exist, and they actually do exist.
==============


you manifest one so that you can manifest the next, and so on. Imagine a Russian doll, you have to open up several dolls to get to the final one, but it was always there.

-------
FALSE, because otherwise it would be impossible for "feral children" to exist, and they actually do exist.

ignorance_is_curable said...

Your putting your own spin on the data, which I have spent far longer than really I should have refuting, you just can't bring yourself to admit the fact.
-------
I don't accept the nonsense you spew because it doesn't include actual Facts. Meanwhile, here are some Facts for you (prepend only the http): www.csub.edu/~mault/symbols.htm

--and here is a quote from that paper: "What most distinguishes humans from other creatures is our ability to create and manipulate a wide variety of symbolic representations."



I'm not putting any "spin" on that. The author clearly indicate that the topic being researched was relevant to ONE of the ways in which humans can be distinguished from mere animals. And the author is clearly researching the acquisition process, of that ability, by young humans that do not initially possess it.


Which obviously means that no unborn human possesses that ability. As their brains grow, and they interact culturally with other humans, they acquire abilities that, as proved by the existence of "feral children", they would not acquire without that cultural interaction.

ignorance_is_curable said...

They won't start to display them till after birth, they possessed them since the moment of conception.

------
It doesn't matter how many times you blather the same nonsense, you will still be blathering nonsense for as long as it is possible for "feral children" to exist (and, so far, they have been able to exist for nearly 200,000 years; for more than 100,000 years, all humans were "feral"; there is no evidence humans did any significant abstract-symbol manipulation before the beginning of the Late Stone Age).

ignorance_is_curable said...

So far as I know, the not-knowing of the health-status of an unborn human almost never has anything to do with abortion. Abortions are done for other reasons (sometimes including the knowing of the health-status of the unborn human).


In terms of Facts, there are three that suffice, independently of any other Facts, as "sufficient ground to kill it".


1. The unborn human animal organism steals oxygen and nutrients from a person's body.
2. The unborn human animal organism dumps toxic biowastes into a person's body.
3. The unborn human animal organism infuses addictive and mind-altering substances into a person's body.


In any situation other than pregnancy, if some animal organism did even one of those things to a person, the person would feel justified in killing the animal.


Even if an adult person did those things to another person, the victim would feel justified in doing whatever was possible to make the assailant stop, right now.


So, the Fact is, no other rationale is needed to seek an abortion. And all the objections basically come down to being nothing more than an exhibition of Stupid Prejudice: "But it is human!" Tsk, tsk! As if that could possibly qualify as an excuse, when an adult human wouldn't be allowed to do the things that abortion opponents insist that unborn humans must be allowed to do!

ignorance_is_curable said...

Blackmun did not need to do any "reinterpretation" whatsoever. The Constitution specifies that a Census of all persons must be conducted every 10 years. The Founding Fathers were right there in 1790 to let us know what they thought should be counted as a person, and what shouldn't be counted as a person. In every Census ever taken, unborn humans have never been counted as persons! See for yourself (prepend the http only):
www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/index_of_questions/



So the USA had decades of Precedent, in considering unborn humans to be non-persons, even before the 14th Amendment in-essence made it official, that they don't have the rights that are granted to born persons.


And so I reiterate, You Abortion Opponents Have NO Facts That Withstand Scrutiny, and NO Solid Foundation Upon Which To Construct An Argument, In The Overall Abortion Debate.

Jessie B said...

Sorry, I meant, other blog entries.